PLASTIC KILLS! Horror Short Film Contest
Thank you to everyone who participated and voted. The winners have been chosen!!
Grand Prize Winner: Blastic
Fan Vote Winners: No Escape from that Within
Runners-up: Throwaway Living, Just One Word, Single Use, and Bottled
Click WATCH NOW below to view the winning films and all fifteen finalists.
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Inspiration: I was motivated to create this film after seeing the amounts of ocean plastic pollution that washes up on shore in so many places. I love a good beach clean up and Halloween, so this was a fun project.
Karola Sanchez a Spanish-American photographer and director of photography, started her career as an actress. She now teaches filmmaking to students at LAUSD schools throughout Los Angeles with Creating Creators.
Aaron Beal is an actor and writer from Indiana who dreams of a world without microplastics.
Inspiration: I wanted to make "Blastic" in order to bring awareness to the catastrophic plastic pollution that has touched every part of the planet, leaving no one to spare, not even
Dracula. We need entertainment that inspires policy change and regulation of anything made of plastic that includes the health of all life on earth.
Inspiration: I thought a classic horror setup and kill would be concise enough to tell the story of mother nature seeking revenge. I definitely tried to channel my inner James Wan along with early 2000's horrors like The Ring and The Grudge.
Inspiration: BOTTLED is a mixture of our group's backgrounds in surreal films and sketch comedy. We decided to make something for this contest inside an IHOP at 9am on Thursday, and by 11pm on Friday, we had a finished film. Because what else would we do on a Thursday night? Sleep? No thanks.
Cameron Lee is a second year business administration student at the University of Southern California's (USC) Marshall School of Business. Cameron found his passion for film through his experience in photography and was inspired by the amazing filmmakers at USC. From learning about the different roles in a film crew to the latest and greatest lighting gear, Cameron's curiosity is endless. Growing up in Las Vegas, he has always loved the entertainment industry and is thrilled to see how the industry evolves throughout his career journey. Outside of photography, Cameron loves to aquascape new fish tanks, cook his favorite Chinese dishes, and banter with his friends over a game of poker.
Inspiration: Jordan Peele's approach in which the audience may overlook some small details until the ending of the film and be like "Ohhhh that's why he did that ' has always been interesting to hear. Personally, horror isn't Buriel's cup of tea but trying to have those elements sprinkled in each scene really helped build the antagonist's background, making it easier to structure the narrative around that.
Inspiration: A standard convention in many horror films, the “skeptic” is the character who always doubts the warnings of the other characters about the dangers lurking in the shadows or the monsters towering over our cities. I wanted to twist this convention in a humorous way to poke fun at the many “skeptics” who doubt the harm that plastics are inflicting on our world. The title is inspired by the famous phrase from The Graduate – “Just one word. Plastics.”
My main genre is comedy. I have created skits about topics such as greenwashing, microplastics, climate anxiety, balloons, and more. Although horror is a new experience for me, I always strive to try something different. One of my dreams is to create a movie about protests against landfills in Russia.
Inspiration: I was in a store and observed how people were taking a large number of single-use plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. It made me realize the abundance of plastic and how we are gradually becoming a plastic society. This realization inspired the creation of this short movie.
Nathaniel Wisham (He/Him)-Director, Writer, Editor- Nathaniel Wisham is a Film Student at UC Berkeley. He comes to film with a passionate love for the horror genre and a love for conservation and the natural world. Coming from Sacramento, and without a background in film production prior to becoming involved with production at Berkeley, his past production projects have all been made within production courses at UC Berkeley, up until No Escape From That Within. His last work before it, The Worst That Could Happen was a comedy horror short about friendship, red flags, and vampires. He came to this project excited to finally make an attempt at creating a “green” horror piece, as his love for the horror genre stems in large part from its ability to make intangible issues and threats tangible to unsettling effects.
Charles Baxter-Director of Photography- Charles recently graduated from UC Berkeley’s film and media department with Honors. He likes making films with his friends. His last piece, Ant Farm, was a comedy about office work.
Inspiration: I find horror to be most effective on a personal level, and regardless of how big an issue plastic pollution is, I feel that the most poignant fact for a lot of people is the amount of plastic in our bodies. I figured that embodying the slow poisoning of our bodies by the very things we frequently use to feed ourselves would work especially well as a hard to spot, slowly encroaching creature, as well as with lots and lots of blood.
You may recognize him from shows like Nickelodeon’s Victorious, Modern Family, and Workaholics, or films like Camp Cold Brook and The Funhouse Massacre. His sketch web series "The Mikey Reid Show" is slated to release on YouTube next spring.
Inspiration: My motivation for the film was to draw attention to the ways in which micro plastics are affecting our planet, our ecosystems and our bodies. I am a staunch believer in ending the use of plastics and I want my work to effectively convey my values in a comedic yet thoughtful way.
Inspiration: I live in New York City where single-use bags were officially banned several years ago. And yet, they still turn up everywhere! I've often considered the insidiousness of single-use bags: they seem so harmless and disposable, but the truth is that they'll outlive us all as they suffocate the planet. What better inspiration for a horror villain could there be?
Inspiration: Plastic pollution is a big issue in our world, and I am passionate about educating people on the harmful effects of plastics. I decided to make this video to highlight what we all can do each and every day, in a fun, yet educational way, similar to my successful 10 Facts in 10 Seconds video series on my YouTube channel, Kid Conservationist.
hybrid documentary, employing stop-motion animation and elements of absurdity to address pressing social issues. In 2023, Laura earned an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. Currently, she teaches film and serves as Director of Ethics and the Arts at Emory University.
Inspiration: This concept arose from an innate need to grapple with the planet’s plastic dilemma while pushing the limits of “documentary.” I draw inspiration from environmental documentaries that favor humor over guilt and don’t explicitly offer solutions. In making this film, I set out to create a piece that would disarm audiences, making them reflect without even realizing.
Jason and Eli are a stepdad/stepson duo who’ve been making silly movies together since Eli was 5. Jason wrote and directed the award-winning short film Death by Script, he’s worked in TV writers’ rooms for HBO, CBS, and Apple, and his feature screenplay Escher appeared on the 2018 Black List. When Eli’s not making movies with Jason, he enjoys third grade, soccer, swimming, kung fu, camping, skiing, and playing with his little brother.
Inspiration: Jason and Eli were motivated to make this film to help educate people about the harms of plastic, so the world will still be around when Eli’s old enough to make films with his own children.
Inspiration: We pulled our inspiration from the very real post-war ads that intensely encouraged the waste of single-use plastic as the way of the future. Looking back, these colorful corporation-driven ads feel like a horrifying pivot to point to as the beginning of the overwhelming plastic pollution of today.